Veteran Australian gymnast Luke Wadsworth, who finished second all-around and first on parallel bars at the recent Australian championships, looks to add skills and improve his execution at this fall’s world championships in Glasgow. Wadsworth’s two-day all-around total of 164.683 points placed him solidly second at the Australian championships that took place earlier this month in Melbourne. First was three-time Japanese Olympian Naoya Tsukahara, who now represents Australia (169.849), and third was Luke Wiwatowski (161.482).
Born October 12, 1990, in Melbourne, Wadsworth began training at age 6. He won the all-around title at the 2005 Australian Under-15 championships and the 2006 Australian Under-17 championships. He finished fourth all-around at the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Australian senior championships. Wadsworth, who trains under coaches Greg Corsiglia and Shachar Tal in Victoria, was seventh all-around at last summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Wadsworth was a member of Australia’s 18th place team at the 2010 and 2011 world championships, and its 26th-place team at last fall’s worlds in Nanning. Although Australia missed the 24-team cut in Nanning to advance to this fall’s worlds in Glasgow, Wadsworth aims to represent Australia as an individual in Glasgow and perhaps earn an individual berth to next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
In this IG Online interview, Wadsworth discusses his performance at the Australian championships, plans for the Glasgow worlds and his team’s potential.
IG: What aspects of your all-around at the Australian championships most pleased you, and what could you have done better?
LW: I was quite pleased overall on how the competition went. The all-around was over two days, which means consistency plays a huge part. On Day 1, on floor I tried a new routine with a higher start (value) of 6.5, and it didn’t go so well, so on Day 2, I went for a much easier routine and scored much better. Looking back maybe I should have saved the high start for finals. I was most pleased with p-bars and the consistent score I could put up on that event. Even though I fell on the dismount on Day 2, it was one of my cleaner routines and still managed a 14.00.
IG: What do you think it will take to challenge Tsukahara more closely in future Australian competitions?
LW: To compete with Tsukahara, I think you need to go out and hit six for six. I think he only had one fall over the two days of competition, and he is an expert on performing what he does very cleanly and without major errors. I was happy with how I performed, but losing three marks (points) straight away on floor on Day 1 put me so far behind that it was hard to catch up from there.
IG: What is your competition and training plan for the period between now and Glasgow?
LW: I have our Victorian state championships on 5 June, and then after that competition it’s on to training hard, looking into worlds trials. The main aim will be to try getting those added skills — that were “50-50s” going into nationals — into the routine and get those consistent. It’s not worth adding 0.30 to the start score and losing 1.0 by falling.
IG: Looking ahead to Glasgow, what are your goals or all-around and specific apparatuses?
LW: The goals for Glasgow would be to go out and hit all six events, aiming for E(execution) scores over 8.5. If I can do that, as well as adding those “50-50” skills in, that should put out a decent all-around score and aim for a possible all-around final. Event-wise there is potential on floor and p-bars to try push into a start score that’s competitive — over 6.5 — but I think this year the all-around might be more important. That decision will be up to the coaches and on how well those routines are going. As we have no team at worlds, the risk could be worth it.
IG: What do you think Australian gymnastics needs to improve or focus on, in order to have a better shot at Olympic team qualification for 2020?
LW: The result from Nanning was very disappointing for us. We had a lot of injuries leading up to the event and had a very young team without much experience. I think the main aim needs to be confidence in what everyone is performing, to maximize the score and minimize falls. A one-mark fall is huge and especially so for a young team. One fall can put a lot of pressure on the next guy up. We have a lot of guys with the routines capable of scoring well. We just need more competition experience and consistency — to know you’re going out to hit, and it just depends on how well.
International Gymnast magazine's recent coverage of Australian gymnastics includes:
"Alysha Djuric profile (July/August 2014)
"The Lowdown from Liddick" – comments from Peggy Liddick (June 2014)
"Catching up with Allana Slater" – profile (April 2014)
Georgia Godwin cover photo (March 2014)
"10 Questions with Naoya Tsukahara" - interview (September 2013)
"Aussie Long Shot" - Daria Joura profile (July/August 2012)
"10 Questions with Olivia Vivian" - interview (March 2011)
"Golden Surprise" - Lauren Mitchell cover story (January/February 2011)
Peggy Liddick interview (January/February 2011)
"Late Bloomer" - Amelia McGrath profile (October 2010)
Lisa Skinner chat (September 2010)
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